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For use with Mahara v.1.0.2
Introduction to Mahara Overview Definitions Contextual help Minimum technology requirements Registration Logging in Settings Preferences Notifications Activity Preferences Institution membership Profile – Edit Profile – Profile Icons – My Resumé – My Goals – My Skills My Portfolio My Files – Upload a File – Tags – Create a folder My Blogs – Create a Blog – Add a Blog Post – Upload a file – Add a file from My Files – Embed an image – View Blog – Blog comments My Views – Create a View – Create View Step One: Details – Create View Step Two: Layout
Supported file types Content types – Blogs – External feeds – Files, images and Video – General – Profile – Resumé Create View Step Three: Access – Add Public access – Add Logged in users access – Add Friends access – Add individual users access – Add Groups access My Views Summary Edit a View Edit View access Search for Views View feedback – Place feedback – Report objectionable material – Print (a View) – Add View to watch list Groups My Groups Group Types – Invite Only – Request Membership – Open membership – Controlled Membership Create a Group Add a Forum Add a topic Add users Find Groups – Join a Group My Friends Find Friends Search Mahara users Search My Portfolio
For updates and new features visit the Mahara wiki at http://mahara.org/wiki
Introduction to Mahara
Established in 2006, the Mahara project started as collaborative venture funded by New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission's e-learning Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF), involving Massey University, Auckland University of Technology, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, and Victoria University of Wellington. Continued development has been made possible by further support from New Zealand’s Ministry of Education and the application of Mellon Foundation funds from the Open Polytechnic’s winning a 2007 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration. Since July 2007, Richard Wyles from Flexible Learning Network has guided the development of Mahara with open source software specialists – Catalyst IT as the maintainers of the core code. A first guiding principle with the development of the Mahara ePortfolio system is that it is a learner-centred tool. Mahara is an open source ePortfolio, weblog, resumé builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities. Mahara is designed to provide users with the tools to demonstrate their life-long learning, skills and development over time to selected audiences. Mahara means 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Māori. The software is provided freely as Open Source (under the GNU General Public License). Because it is open source software, other organisations are welcome to contribute to the software’s evolution. The system is modular in design to maximise flexibility and extensibility.
With Mahara, you control which items and what information within your portfolio other users see. Such items and information are termed Artefacts. To facilitate this access control, all Artefacts you wish to show to other users need to be arranged into one area. In Mahara this compilation of selected Artefacts is called a View. You can have as many Views as you like, each with a different collection of Artefacts, and intended purpose and audience. Your audience, or the people you wish to give access to your View, can be added as individuals or as a member of a Group. It can even be made publicly available. For example you could create a View for your friend and family that includes holiday photos and a personal Blog. You could create another View for your tutor, which includes assessments and your reflective learning journal. You could create a third View to showcase your best pieces of work and your resumé for potential employers. In fact you can create as many Views as you wish for work, study and leisure purposes.
The above illustrates that the example Artefacts have all been associated with one or more example Views. Example Groups have been given access to a different mix of Views.
For an introduction to the key features of Mahara take a look at this Video on Scivee.tv
Some useful definitions in the context of using Mahara and related services. ePortfolio - An electronic portfolio is an online collection of reflections and digital Artefacts that students and staff can use to demonstrate their development over time to various audiences.
My Portfolio – My Portfolio is a site powered by Mahara with specific instances for the Schools sector and the Tertiary sector. Artefacts – Artefacts are items and information that ePortfolio users can create both within and outside of their portfolio. Within Mahara Artefacts include images, documents, blogs, personal information and resumé information. View – Within Mahara a View is collection of any number Artefacts that exist within a user’s portfolio. Groups – Within Mahara Groups allow for the development of social networking communities through the use of Forums. They can also be used to share Views between members of a Group.
You will find contextual help throughout the site, wherever you see the symbol. Click on this to open a dialogue box containing help on the area you are currently working in. Contextual help is designed to help guide you through Mahara so please use this feature as much as you require.
Minimum technology requirements
Mahara requires a minimum web browser of Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, Firefox 1.5 or higher, Safari 2 or higher, Opera 9 or higher or any other browser compatible with these standards. You can determine the version of your browser software by selecting About via the Help menu.
You must also have cookies enabled on your browser in order to use a Mahara site. If an ePortfolio account will not be created on your behalf by an institution associated with this site, you will need to complete the
Registration process. Click on Register within the Login box and fill out the form provided. Read how to enable cookies in various web browsers
Your login details will be the username and password you entered during registration or as assigned by your institution or Site Administrator. Where relevant, you will also need to select the institution with which you are associated. Your username may include alphanumeric characters, full stops and @ symbols. Your username must be between 3 and 30 characters long. Usernames are not case sensitive. Your password must be at least six characters long and contain at least one digit and two letters. Your password may not be the same as your username and is case sensitive. Once you have submitted the registration form, an email will immediately be sent to your email address. This email will contain a link which once followed, will confirm your account and log you into the system. If you do not receive an email confirmation message after registration, please ensure the registration message has not been caught by your email junk filter. Please contact the Site Administrator if you have any problems registering
Before you progress too far into Mahara, you may wish to explore the settings features. The settings tab enables you to configure and determine how you will use the site, how friends may link with you and how the system will contact you with important information and notifications. If applicable you can also use this to oversee your Institution membership(s) There are four sub menus in the settings menu; Preferences, Notifications, Activity Preferences and Institutional Membership
Use to change your password. Please note, your password must total at least six characters. It must contain at least one number, and at least two letters. Passwords are case sensitive, and must be different from your username.
Check this area to keep up to date with system activities and communications from other users. Once you have read a notification you can mark it for removal from your list. Read notifications will automatically expire and be removed from your list after 60 days.
Set your activity preferences to determine how you receive notifications for each activity type within Mahara. You can select from an Activity Log in your Notifications area, an email to your primary email address each time an activity occurs or an email digest of the last 24 hours activity to your primary email address.
If you are a member of any institutions, they will be listed here. You may also request membership of an institution, and if any institutions have invited you to join, you can accept or decline the invitation.
Your Profile area stores your contact and personal information. This is the area in Mahara where you can start to build up a picture of your interests, achievements, aims and when you are ready to do so, share them with other users. Always remember to think about your own personal security before releasing contact information on a publicly available View. Each of the Profile fields can be considered separate Artefacts which may be independently added to a View.
This allows you to include the following information about yourself. Fields within the profile area include Name and student ID – These fields may be locked for editing depending on local settings of Mahara. Preferred name - Use this if you do not wish to display your full name. Your preferred name can be anything you like and replaces your full name display to all users except site administrators and staff. Introduction – You may wish to write a brief introduction about yourself. The information you enter here will be searchable by other users Contact information – Here you can add various contact details such as postal address, any external Blogs you may have and website addresses. You can also add additional email addresses using the Add Email button. Once you have saved your Profile a message will be sent to the new email address. This message will contain a link which once followed, will confirm your email address is valid. This confirmation email is valid for 24 hours only Messaging – Include details of any Instant messaging service you may use, such as Skype or Jabber. General – Indicate your profession and industry where relevant Please ensure to Save Profile before progressing
The Profile Icons area allows you to upload images to use within your Profile and Views. Your Icons may be a picture of you or an avatar image of your choice. You may upload up to
five profile icons here, and choose one to be displayed as your default icon at any one time. Your icons must be between 16x16 and 1024x1024 pixels in size. Click on the Browse button to navigate to your picture then click Open. You can enter a Title or name of your picture if you wish. Once you have selected your picture click Upload. If you have more than one icon loaded you can choose which picture to make your default. Your default image will appear on your Profile page.
The resumé area allows you to build digital resumés or CVs which can be tailored and shared with different audiences. It is entirely optional which of the fields you complete and which of those you then make available through Mahara’s View structure.
This area is divided into two sections – one for entering general information and one for details of your experience and qualifications. When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click Save The General Information fields in My Resumé includes Cover Letter– Use this space to introduce yourself or provide supplementary information related to the purpose and audience with whom you are sharing your resumé Interests - Here you can detail personal and/or professional interests Contact information – Your Contact Information is taken directly and edited from where it is stored within your Profile. To add to or update your Contact Information, click on Edit Profile. Once you have entered in the required information, click on Edit My Résumé to return to your Résumé area. Personal information – These optional fields allow you to include additional information about yourself The experience and qualifications area includes Employment history, Certifications, Accreditations and Awards, Books and publications and Professional Memberships . To add details to any of these sections, click on Add to expand to an area in which
to add your details. After each entry remember to click Save. Entries display in reverse chronological order.
The My Goals area is divided into Personal, Academic and Careers sections. Using the HTML editor within each box you can provide information relating to your Goals so that you may add them to a View. When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click Save.
The My Skills area is divided into Personal, Academic and Work sections. Using the HTML editor within each box you can provide information relating to your Goals so that you may add them to a View. When adding information to any of these fields remember to Click Save
Tip: Once you have prepared a resumé, you will need to add it to a View in order to share it with other people, such as potential employers. Read how to create a View and about resumé content types
It might be useful to consider the My Portfolio section of Mahara as your main personal repository of resources and information. In here, you can begin to add content to your ePortfolio, in the shape of uploaded resources, or Artefacts, Blogs within Mahara and store them in My Files and My Blogs. When you decide to start sharing selected Artefacts, you can use My Views to begin packaging them up for presentation.
The My Files area is a repository and document store for folders and files to use within your portfolio. Both folders and files are considered Artefacts and as such can be added to a View. You may create any number of folders or sub folders. To view which sub-folders and files sit within a folder, click on the folder name. Use the Home link to return to the top level folder directory. Files and folders can be rearranged by dragging and dropping them to other folders. A suitably named and organised filing structure will help with the long term organisation and retrieval of your Artefacts. You will find that some folders are automatically created by the system such as ‘Blogfiles’. This folder includes files that are uploaded via a Blog posting. Deleting a file here will remove it from you Blog posting.
Upload a file
Use the Upload File option to add an allowed file type to your repository. When attempting to upload a file you will always see the following Copyright notice.
In order to progress you must comply and agree to the Copyright notice by ticking the Copyright box. For more information on Copyright Law in New Zealand visit http://www.copyright.org.nz Name - You can add a title when uploading a file, otherwise it will default to the existing file name. Description – You may choose to give your file a description Tags – You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara. Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create an index of tag classifications Once you have added the required fields, click Upload to add the file to your repository area. When this is completed you will see an onscreen notification. If you attempt to upload a file with the same name as an existing artefact in your repository area, you will be given the option of overwriting the existing file, renaming the new file or cancelling the upload process.
Tags allow you to include a user defined classification scheme for your Artefacts and Views. You can add individual words, or phrases. Multiple tags can be added and must be separated by a Comma. For example if your artefact was a Biology assignment you might add the following tags Biology, Assignment, Semester 1 Tip - When you next go to upload an Artefact, you can click on Show my tags to view a list of all tags you have previously used. This can save time if you need to frequently upload Artefacts with the same tags. Simply click on any relevant existing tags, and they will be added to your new Artefact. Over time your tags list will develop into a comprehensive list of keywords for your Artefacts and will aid the search process.
Create a Folder
Use the Create Folder option to add new Folders and sub folders to your file repository area. When you start to create a new Folder you will see the following fields: Name – The name you wish to give your folder or sub folder. This may be changed at any time using the Edit button Description - You may choose to give your folder a description
Tags - You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara. Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create an index of tag classifications Folders and sub folders can be moved around by dragging and dropping them to a new location in your file structure.
A web log or Blog is a journal-like too that allows you to record your thoughts and experiences. By adding your Blog to a View you can allow others users to place feedback and comments, allowing you to create a dialogue with your audience Creating a Blog is a two stage process. First a Blog must be created and given a title and description. Then, you can add Blog posts to your Blog. Think of the first stage as rather like creating a wrapper or container in which you can begin to add your creative writing, reflective thoughts and comments through Blog posts.
Create a Blog
Use Add Blog to create a new Blog. Give it a suitable title and description. Select Create Blog.
The Blog title will appear in a list under My Blogs, along with any other Blogs you have already created
Add a Blog post
Click on Blog title and select Add Post. If it is a new Blog there will also be a message that says ‘No posts yet. Add one’.
Give your Blog post a title and in the HTML text editor, add your thoughts!
You can add Tags to Blogs and Blog posts you create within Mahara. Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Blogs and create an index of tag classifications. Add words or phrases separated by commas. So for this example, the following tags have been added eLearning, Staff development, pedagogy
Tip - When you next go to add a Blog post, you can click on Show my tags to view a list of all tags you have previously used. This can save time if you need to frequently upload Artefacts with the same tags. Simply click on any relevant existing tags, and they will be added to your new Artefact. Over time your tags list will develop into a comprehensive list of keywords for your Artefacts and will aid the search process.
Save as draft If you would like to come back to your Blog posting at a later time to add or modify it, you can hold off from publishing it by saving it as a Draft by ticking the This post is a draft checkbox
Save post When you have completed your posting and you are happy with it, select Save Post
If the Blog post has been marked as Draft, it will appear as Draft and can be published later.
If the Blog post has not been marked as draft, it will appear as Published. In both cases the full Blog post will be displayed, along with its title and date and time of which it was posted. The parent title of the Blog to which it belongs is indicated in bolder type at the top of the screen.
Note: Saving and publishing your post means that it is saved and stored in My Blogs area. It does not mean that other users can yet read it. Until you decide to make it available by adding it to a View and assigning access rights, nobody else will be able to see or comment on it. Whilst a Blog itself is considered an Artefact, so are any individual Blog postings you create. This means that both Blogs and individual Blog posts can be added to a View. Remember that until you add it to a View, your Blog remains visible only to you.
Upload a File
You may upload or attach files to a Blog posting. Files added to a Blog posting are automatically stored within your file repository area in a folder called ‘Blogfiles’ and contribute to your file storage quota. When attempting to upload a file you will always see the following Copyright notice.
In order to progress you must comply and agree to the Copyright notice by ticking the Copyright box. For more information on Copyright law in New Zealand visit http://www.copyright.org.nz Browse your desktop in the usual way to find a file or image to upload. When attempting to upload a file you will see the following fields: Name - You can add a title when uploading a file, otherwise it will default to the existing file name. Description – You may choose to give your file a description Tags – You can add tags to Artefacts and Views you create within Mahara. Tags allow you to add descriptive labels to Artefacts and Views and create an index of tag classifications. Once you have filled in the required fields, click Upload to complete the add file process. You will see a confirmation message and details of the attached file.
Add a file from My Files
If you have already uploaded files to the My Files area, you can quickly associate them with a Blog post. Select Browse my files to display a list of the files uploaded to your file store.
Chose a relevant file, it is likely that you will want to link to an image or photograph of some description, and click Attach. This will automatically add your file to the Blog and will be displayed as an attached file.
Embed an image to a Blog post
If you attach an image to a Blog post, you can then embed it into the body of the post. Before you do anything else, position your cursor at the place in your Blog post where you would like the image to appear. Click on the image icon in the HTML editor (this is the one that looks like a green tree) From the Insert Image box select the appropriate file from the drop down box and click Insert.
You can also embed an image as a link from another website. You can either enter in the url of the image or drag and drop the image from the website into the HTML editor. Please ensure you have appropriate copyright permissions to use the image. For best results images should be no more than 400 x 400 pixels and have less than 5 pixels of padding on each side.
To View your Blogs and Blog posts, go to My Blogs, for a list of Blogs. Click on a Blog title for a list of Blog posts associated with that Blog The two stage process of creating a Blog and then adding Blog posts will result in a Blog which is still only visible to you, the owner. To enable people to read your Blogs requires a further step - add part or all of it to a View (See My Views > Content Types > Blogs)
When reading another person’s Blog, via a View, you may be able to submit comments on their posts. To comment on another user’s Blog, open the applicable View, click on the Blog’s name or title and select the Place Feedback option at the bottom of the screen. Currently this will only
work if a user has chosen to display Recent Blog Posts in their View. This displays a list up to a maximum of 10 most recent posts, by title. Other users with access rights to the View can click on a title and submit Public or Private Blog Comments (Feedback). Public Feedback may be seen by other users who have access to the View. Private Feedback is only visible to the View owner. A View owner may choose to make your public feedback private, but not vice versa.
Tip: To edit your Blog description, view the Blog list in My Blogs, click on the title and select Settings. You can now amend the title or description of your Blog.
A View is a collection of Artefacts, encompassing selected files, resumé details and Blogs of your choice. A view can be kept private or shared with any number of Groups or individuals as you wish. You may create as many different Views as you like and reuse your Artefacts, even giving them different titles for different audiences. Views can also be used to submit work for feedback or assessment to a Controlled Group.
Click on the images to see sample Views
Create a View
Create View launches a 3 step process by which you can create a collection of your Artefacts as a View. Prior to creating a View, you will find it easier to have uploaded a sample of different Artefacts with which to experiment when designing your first layout.
Create View Step One: Details
Create View step 1: Details involves assigning your View a Title, Description and assigning any relevant tags. The Description you add in the HTML editor will appear in the finished version of your View, so you may wish to change your font to match the colour and size in your local Mahara installation.
Depending on the audience for your View and level of formality required you can change the Name display format When you have finished the description, click Next to progress to Create View Step Two
Create View Step Two: Layout
Create View Step Two: Layout involves the design and layout of your View. This is managed by choosing from a menu of different content types and dragging and dropping selected ‘blocks’ into your layout area. To add a block, choose the relevant content type from the menu and select by clicking and holding your mouse button or pointer down. Drag the block into the grey line into your View layout Note if you are using Internet Explorer 6, Drag and Drop will not be enabled. Instead you can arrange your Blocks by clicking and adding to your layout area.
When adding information to any of these blocks remember to Click Save
Supported file types
Mahara allows for a wide range of file types to be uploaded and be stored as Artefacts and added to Mahara Views. Supported file types are
In order to make full use of Artefacts that you have uploaded to Mahara’s file store area and any Blog posts or Resumé information, you will need to start adding them to Views. When you begin to create a View you will be presented with six different menu tabs containing various ‘blocks’ with which information can be dragged into and arranged in your View.
Content Types: Blogs
This section allows you to add various aspects of any Blogs which you have created within Mahara. Note: For adding externally hosted Blogs, see Content Types: External Feeds
You can display your Mahara Blogs in three main ways: Display your entire Blog – this will display the whole of your Blog. This is okay if you only have a small number of Blog Posts, but can look unwieldy on the page if there are a lot.
Display a single Blog post – Display one Blog post within your View.
Display recent Blog posts – This will display the last 10 Blog posts, with titles as hyperlinks to the full text. This is a useful option if you have a regularly updated Blog; as you update it, your readers will see the most recent 10 Blog posts updated when they next access your View.
Tip: if you have two or three Blog posts within a Blog which you would like to include in a View but do not wish to post the entire Blog, try adding an individual ‘Display one Blog post’ for each post you would like to include. Blog posts can also be reused in several Views and given different titles for different audiences.
Content Types: External Feeds
External feeds allow you to link in content from other websites by including an RSS or ATOM Feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is characteristic of the trend towards push rather than pull technology of the Web, so that information comes to you rather than you having to actively seek it out. In essence this means that new content from your favourite or frequently used websites, be it leisure, subject specific or news sites, can be aggregated and brought to you in one convenient place. In this case, packaged up in a Mahara View!
You could quite easily create a View to act as something of a feed Reader, adding numerous blocks to include feeds from your frequently visited sites. Equally you could integrate a relevant feed into a wider subject specific View. Another scenario in which it might be useful is if you have an existing Blog which you have hosted elsewhere on the web. Rather than starting afresh with Mahara’s in built Blog, you can link the RSS feed of your existing Blog to a View in Mahara. Of course, you may wish to create a new Blog within Mahara which is focused on your use of ePortfolios in your institution too, there is room for both. To add a valid feed, first check the site which you would like to link to and look to see if they provide an RSS feed (not all sites do!) Copy the feed address, and paste it into an External feed block in Mahara. Check the tick box if you want to show feed items in full, or leave blank to show 10 most recent titles. Watch short screen demo of adding an RSS feed to Mahara
Content Types: Files, Images and Video
Files, Images and Video allows a wide range of media to be added to Mahara and presented viewer.
Files, Images and Video can be displayed in a number of ways in Mahara: External Video – Unlike the other content types in this section, External Video allows you to embed and directly link to externally hosted videos and requires no uploading to the Mahara file store area. The supported video hosting sites are: YouTube Google Video Teacher Tube Scivee File(s) to Download – Select Files for people to download from your View A Folder – Provide the contents of one of your folders from the file store area An Image – Embed a single image from your folder Embedded Media – Embed multimedia objects, for example, a video file. This can be used as an alternative, or in addition, to linking to externally hosted videos
Content Types: General
This field contains one Block: Text Box – This has a number of versatile uses. It can be used to simply include some extra text or information that doesn’t readily fit into any of the other content types’ Blocks. It can also be used to include html and sometimes embed html objects from other sites.
Tip: if you have html experience, try experimenting with adding your own content or source code from other sites
Content Types: Profile
You can choose elements of your Profile to display in a View. This information is taken directly from your Edit Profile area. You can include the following blocks: Contact Information – Include one or more elements of your Contact Information Profile Information – Include one or more elements of your Profile Information
Content Types: Resumé
The options for including your Resumé to a View include: Your Entire Resumé – A quick way to display your entire Resumé One Resumé Field – Display any Resumé field
Tip: if you wish to create a View with the main purpose of sharing and possibly printing a Resumé, add Your Entire Resumé block and set the View layout to be one column width. This will provide a simple and clear layout for your Resumé. This can be either printed out to share with employers, or access can be granted for them to view online.
Create View Step Three: Access
Once you have designed a layout and added content to your View, which you are happy to share, the next stage is to assign access rights. This stage is optional though, and it may be that you wish to simply save your work and assign access at a later stage. In which case you can save your work and it will default to being visible only to you. There are several types of access which can be assigned to a View:
This allows you to make a View publicly available via a url. Your View can then be shared with anybody you wish by giving them the url of your View.
Add Logged in users
This allows you to make a View available to all logged in users of Mahara. This will provide access to your View to anybody who has a login for Mahara
This allows you to make a View available to all in your Friends list. New friends by default will have access to your View.
Add individual users
This allows you to assign access to individual users of Mahara. These need not be existing Friends.
This allows you to associate your View with a Mahara Group and its members. Tip: Assigning access rights to your View is unrelated to the process of submitting and releasing Views in Controlled Membership Groups. Read more about Controlled Membership.
You can add combinations of the above and further refine access rights by assigning start and end dates for specific people or Groups. For example, you could give access rights to a tutor for the duration of a project or assignment and also give access to people in your friends list for the duration of the term.
Assign access to a View
To assign access to a View, select type and click Add, for example Add
Public Add public will now appear in the right hand pane. Also bear in mind that people in your friends list do not automatically have rights to see a View you have created. Treat each View you create as a separate collection of work and consider the audience with whom you wish to share it and assign access rights accordingly each time.
My Views summary
Once you have created some Views, select My Views which displays an alphabetical list of all the Views you have created.
Each View will have a summary pane containing the following information: View Title – whichever title you assigned to your View Edit View details – This function is equivalent to Create View Step One and allows you to change the View Title, View Description, Tags and name display format of your View. Artefacts – This lists any Artefacts contained in your view. Artefacts are taken to be any files that have been uploaded and added to the View and any Resumé details or Blog posts included in the View. It will not list details of any external videos or RSS feeds which have been included. Edit View Access – This function is equivalent to Create View Step Three and allows you to add, modify or remove View access and any dates to any of your Groups, and any individuals of your choice Edit this View – This function is equivalent to Create View Step Two and allows you to change the layout of your View and add or remove extra content blocks.
Edit a View
If you have created a View and wish to go back to make changes to it, select My Views and choose Edit this View.
Remember to click Done to save any edits you make to a View
Edit View Access
You may have created a View which you want to change access rights for and add new colleagues, students, Groups or even make your View publicly available on the Web
Search for Views
To look at other users’ Views you will need to check the profiles of existing Friends or other users of Mahara. Remember that you can only see a View if the owner has granted you access or if the View is publicly available. To search your Friends’ profiles choose My Friends and click on a name to View their profile. This will include a list of any Views that you have access rights to; if you do not have access rights you will see the statement Views: None that you can see :( To look at a View, click on the title to expand.
You can get an overview of all of your Friends’ Views by clicking on My Friends. This will display an alphabetical list of your Friends and an associated list of all of their Views to which you have access
To search other users who are not Friends, choose Find Friends and click on a name to View their profile. This will include a list of any Views that you have access rights to; if you do not have access rights you will see the statement Views: None that you can see :( To look at a View, click on the title to expand.
View Feedback panel
At the bottom of each View, to which you have been assigned access, there is a menu of options with which you can interact with a specific View. The options are •
Place feedback Report objectionable material Print Add View to watchlist
Click on the Place feedback link at the bottom of a View to post a comment for the View owner
Shouldn’t that be I think therefore I Cam?
You have the option to make any feedback private or making it public by checking the Make public box. This will make any feedback visible to all people with access to the View. To submit, select Place feedback and a message will be sent to the View owner Tip – A View owner can opt to change any public feedback that has been placed to private.
Report objectionable material
Should you find material in a View that you consider offensive, there is a mechanism in place to flag this. Select Report objectionable material at the bottom of the View and include a reason why you are raising it. Select Notify site administrator and a message will be sent to the relevant administrator(s)
Print a View
To print out a View, simply click the Print link at the bottom of the View. This can be useful if you require a printed document of yours or a students’ View.
Add View to watchlist
To keep up to date with changes to Views of which you have access, rather than having to visit and revisit the View, select Add View to watchlist at
the bottom of the View to receive notifications via Mahara each time the View is amended.
Should you wish to remove this from your watchlist, go back to the relevant View (see Search for Views for how to do this) and click Remove View from watchlist. Note: these activities can also all be carried out with Views that you have created, although you are unlikely to report your own View as objectionable material! You may however, wish to place your own feedback in response to any that you receive.
Groups enable users to develop online communities based around shared interests and groupings such as courses, subjects, year groups or leisure interests. By creating Groups, you can begin to develop and support learning and social activity in a social networking environment.
My Groups displays any groups which you have joined or are a member of. This display can be filtered by choosing an option from the drop down box • • • • • All My Groups Groups I Own Groups I’m In Groups I’m invited to Groups I Want To Join
If this is your first visit, or you have not joined or created any Groups, you will see a message on this page that says Try searching for groups to join! By clicking on the hyperlink in the text, Mahara will take you to the Find Groups page.
If you have joined or created a Group, a summary of each one will be listed in My Groups. Each summary will list the title, any description of the group, the owner and members. If it is a Group that you have created you will see the option to edit or delete the Group
If it is a Group that you do not own, but have joined you will see a message saying that ‘You are a member of this group’ and will have an option to ‘Leave this group’
It is useful here to remember the three different user types within Mahara; members, staff and administrators. All three can create Groups, though there are some different user permissions to explain. There are four types of Group which can be created; Invite Only Request Membership Open Membership • Controlled Group The first three groups can be created by any user of Mahara. The fourth type, Controlled Membership can only be created by users assigned staff or administrator roles. • • •
Group types: Invite Only
Invite Only Groups can be created by all users. Other people can only be added to the Group by responding to an invitation sent out by you to join. To invite other users to join your Group, navigate to My Friends, or Find friends (potential group members do not have to already be in your friends list to join
Select a person to invite; in Find Friends do this by browsing the alphabetical list or typing in a name in the search box or in My Friends select a user from the alphabetical list.
Group types: Request Membership
Request Membership Groups can be created by all users. Other people can join by searching for your Group under Find Groups. The Group can be previewed by clicking on its title. Join the Group by clicking on Join this group either in the Find Groups list or whilst in the preview mode. A membership request will come to you for approval or rejection
Group types: Open Membership
Open Membership Groups can be created by all users.
Group types: Controlled Membership
Controlled Membership Groups can only be created by users with Staff or Administrator permissions. As group owner you are able to add users to your Group.
Create a Group
To create a Group, go to My Groups and click the Create Group button. Give your Group a name and an optional description using the html editor. From the drop down Group Membership Type box select the type of membership access you wish to assign and how other users can join your Group. Tip: remember to check that you have selected the correct group type. The default group will be Open Membership.
Click Save and you will be directed back to your My Groups page. The Group summary will now be displayed in alphabetical order with any other groups you have created. At the top of the page will be a confirmation message that your group has been created successfully.
Add a Forum
An important and useful part of joining a Group is being able to communicate with other members. That is equally applicable to Groups in Mahara. Once you have created a Group
Add a Topic
Find Groups can be used to search for Groups to join. You can join Groups that have been set up as Open Membership and you can request to join Groups that have been set up as Request Membership. Find Groups can be filtered by applying from the drop down menu • • Groups I’m not in Groups I’m in
Join a Group
The way in which you can join a Group will be determined by the Group type. If the Group is Open membership, click on the Join this group button. No further action is required from you; you are automatically added If the Group is Request Membership click on the request to join this group button and the request will be sent to the Group owner for approval or rejection. You will receive notification of this decision. Invite Only Groups will require an invite from the Group owner which you can respond to by accepting or declining the invite. Controlled Membership Groups, which can only be created by Mahara users with staff permissions, require no action by participants to join; you will be added by the person who has created that Group, somebody with staff or administrator permissions in Mahara.
You can view a list of your existing friends in the Groups menu button by clicking on My Friends. The list will be displayed alphabetically and a summary panel will display, • • • • • Username Profile icon The option to message (if the user has enabled messaging) The option to remove the user from your friends list Any Views which you have access rights for
You can search for new friends in the Groups menu button by clicking on Find Friends. The list will be displayed alphabetically and a summary panel will display, • • • • • Username Profile Icon An Introduction if the user has added it Send Friend Request! button if the user has set their preferences to new friends require authorisation Add to friends button if the user has set their preferences to New friends are automatically authorised
Tip: You may wish to advise younger or inexperienced users of social networking systems about safe practice when making contact with people online. It is advisable to keep user settings so that new friends require authorisation and only friends may send messages. However, this needs to be balanced out with the ethos of Mahara as a user centred environment and the implied freedom this entails. Netsafe is a useful starting point for advice on using the Internet safely
Search Mahara users
Search for other Mahara users with similar interests to you, using the Search Users box in the top right of your screen
Mahara can be configured to search various user fields. By default this will usually search for text added to the Introduction field in the Edit Profile area. Extra fields can be made public, such as preferred name, Occupation and Industry. As well as making the content of these fields searchable, they will also be available for all logged in users to search upon and view within another user’s public profile area. Tip: to enable other users to search and link with you on Mahara you may wish to include in your Introduction field details such as; place of study/work, subjects, research interests, hobbies or any other information that you would like to share.
Search My Portfolio
Search My Portoflio enables you to search and retrieve information in your own portfolio. Results are retrieved according to tags which you have assigned to artefacts within your portfolio. This search box only becomes visible when you click on the My Portfolio menu Button.